Beyond the buffet: Hy-Vee launches full service restaurants

Hy-Vee Market Cafe
Hy-Vee Market Cafes opened in the East Side, Waterfront and Coralville Hy-Vees this summer. — photo courtesy of Hy-Vee

If you’ve visited the Waterfront or East Side Hy-Vees recently, you may have noticed some changes in the stores’ dining areas. The grocery chain’s cafeteria-style dining has given way to the newly opened Hy-Vee Market Cafes — full-service, sit-down restaurants with servers, bartenders and a kitchen located in the back of house.

Hy-Vee decided to revamp their dining format so that it could be a one-stop shop where families and shoppers could get the best of both worlds: The Market Cafes offer the “convenience of a full service meal and a shopping trip combined,” said Tony Byington, Hy-Vee’s vice president of restaurant operations.

Byington said that the company also made this change to the dining model to differentiate themselves from other grocery stores and because dinner business was lacking. Hy-Vee Market Cafes began operating this summer in East Side (812 S. First Ave.), Waterfront (1720 Waterfront Dr.) and Coralville (1914 8th St., Coralville) locations.

The recently launched Market Cafes open at 6 a.m. and offer breakfast, lunch and dinner. The breakfast menu is available until 11 a.m. (2 p.m. on Sundays) and features traditional breakfast staples like pancakes, french toast, eggs and bacon.

The lunch/dinner menu begins at 11 a.m. and includes appetizers — like the Colossal Wings and Pulled Pork Nachos — as well as salads, burgers, flatbreads and entrées like pasta, grilled salmon and rib eye. Prices range from $8 – $23.

In addition to non-alcoholic drinks, the Market Cafes now offer wine, beer and spirits. Beer is available in bottles as well as on draught, and each location plans to feature beers from local breweries like Peace Tree and Back Pocket on their taps.

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